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April 21, 2014

“Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners,” Co-authored by Tom Mackey, Trudi Jacobson

Today’s learners communicate, create and share information using social media, blogs, wikis, mobile devices, virtual worlds and MOOCs. In “Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners,” published by ALA Neal-Schuman, Thomas P. Mackey, dean of the Center for Distance Learning at Empire State College, and Trudi E. Jacobson, distinguished librarian at the University at Albany, present a comprehensive framework for information literacy theory that builds on decades of practice. The concept of metaliteracy expands the scope of traditional information skills (determine, access, locate, understand and use information) to include the collaborative production and sharing of information in participatory digital environments (collaborate, produce, participate and share) prevalent in today’s world. Combining theory and case studies, the authors:

  • offer a framework for engaging in today’s information environments as active, self-reflective and critical contributors to these collaborative spaces
  • show why metaliteracy is critical for informed citizens in the 21st century
  • connect metaliteracy to such topics as metadata, the semantic Web, metacognition, open education, distance learning and digital storytelling.

According to Mackey, “This book expands the metacognitive dimension of our metaliteracy framework, while providing visual representations of the model, exploring trends in social media and presenting case studies from our own teaching in the classroom and online.”

Jacobson said, “For readers interested in learning more about metaliteracy, a great strength of this book is the combination of the theory and philosophy behind metaliteracy with the learning objectives and case studies that enable translation from theory to actual practice.”

The book’s foreword was written by Sheila A. Webber, director of the Centre for Information Literacy Research at the Information School, Sheffield University.

Mackey is dean at CDL and campus coordinator for Open SUNY at Empire State College. He has taught courses in digital storytelling and information design at CDL and developed a metaliteracy MOOC with Jacobson.  He is a member of the editorial team for Open Praxis, the peer-reviewed, international, open access, scholarly journal about research and innovation in open, distance and flexible education. He has published four co-edited books with Jacobson, most recently “Teaching Information Literacy Online.”

Jacobson is distinguished librarian and head of the information literacy department at the University at Albany. She teaches undergraduate information literacy courses. She is the co-author, with Lijuan Xu, of “Motivating Students in Information Literacy Classes.” She recently contributed to and co-edited “The Information Literacy User’s Guide: An Open, Online Textbook.” In 2009 she won the Association of College and Research Libraries (ARCL) Instruction Section’s Miriam Dudley Instruction Librarian Award.  She is co-chair of the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education Task Force.

ALA Books is currently providing a sample of the book at

Facet Publishing is distributing the book internationally at

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